The Eagles kicked off their opening Region 1-AAAAA schedule in style by playing host to the team most associated with Region 1 football, the Valdosta Wildcats. The game was also Northside’s 2008 Homecoming game as well as being their first of 7 straight Region 1 battles.
The Wildcats entered McConnell-Talbert Stadium unbeaten in 2008 and having never lost to the Eagles in 7 previous encounters, and the Eagles entered the contest 3-0 and riding a 33-game winning streak. The first half was a defensive struggle which featured a combined 9 punts and neither team totaling more than 100 yards of offense. The difference, however, proved to be the big play ability of the Northside defense as they forced 2 big interceptions. The first occurred with 2:30 on the first quarter clock when senior cornerback K.J. Morton stepped in front of a Valdosta receiver to pick off the pass and then raced all the way into the endzone for a 45 yard touchdown. Devon Pike added the PAT and the Eagles led 7-0. Later in the same quarter, senior defensive lineman Anton Williams corralled a batted screen pass attempt and rumbled 18 yards with the interception down to the Wildcat 4 yard line. Senior running back Xavier Bacon scored a couple of plays later from 1 yard out and Pike’s PAT put the Eagles up 14-0 with 8 seconds left in the first quarter. The Eagle defense forced another Valdosta punt and this time Brison Williams got a finger on the kick for a partial block that limited the punt to only 20 yards. Three plays later, Bacon scored on a spectacular 19 yard run to culminate the 51 yard drive. Pike was again good on the PAT and the Eagles went into halftime leading 21-0.
In the second half, the Northside rushing attack started to click put together two 13 play drives that began to wear down the Wildcat defense. The second of these drives covered 68 yards and again ended with Bacon taking it in from 1 yard out at the 8:14 mark of the 4th quarter. Devon Pike was perfect again on the PAT attempt and Northside led 28-0. Valdosta finally got on the scoreboard with 4:05 left in the game on a 25 touchdown pass. The conversion made the score 28-7, and the Wildcats then lined up for an onsides kick. The perfectly executed kick was recovered by Valdosta who then flew down the field in 2 plays to score again thru the air to tighten the score to 28-14. The second onside kick attempt was recovered by the Eagles who then made an couple of first downs and ran out the final three and a half minutes of the game for the victory.
The victory over Valdosta was the first in school history for Northside who are now 1-0 in Region 1-AAAA and 4-0 overall. The Eagles now take on county rival Houston Co. next week at the MAC.